A Second Chance
Location: USS Poseidon; Deck 5, unassigned junior officer's quarters
Timeline: Day 001 -1820 Hours
The sounds of the Hirogen ambush fell quiet. The blast to his head had done Oscar Vladinchi in, the shouts and cries from his combadge relaying the response from the USS Pennsylvania falling on deaf ears. His awareness began to drift, consolidate itself, center itself towards his mind as each of his five senses began to subside in effectiveness. His body fell still. His heartbeat stopped.
A rushing motion, much like the feeling of rushing down a hill began and intensified within Oscar. It was a sudden and forceful, with an equal sudden feeling of deceleration and what felt like a hard fall onto a soft surface. He heard a popping sound, then another, followed by what seemed like some sort of vortex emitting a swirling sound as it slowly ceased to exist. Then he noticed the feeling of his heart, beating again. He was tired, so very tired, and so his mind drifted once more.
Meanwhile, on the bridge Karn noticed one of the internal sensors going off. There was one more combadge active than what was normal. It was either a glitch or there was an intruder.
"Computer, Identify user of combadge #44981."
"User is Lieutenant Oscar V-"
Karn didn't even let the computer finish speaking before he hit the button.
"Captain, Intruder alert on deck five. Sending Security Teams One and Two to intercept and putting up force fields. Requesting permission to leave the bridge to deal with our little stowaway.", as he asked this he pulled out his phaser.
"Permission granted," Franklin replied. He had been pulling an extended shift that evening and was about to retire. "keep me apprised of the situation."
Down below, Oscar Vladinchi stirred. He groaned, feeling fresh air enter his lungs. It was a surreal feeling. Something akin to finally tasting a nice piece of ice cream after a warm summer days work. It was refreshing, but almost too refreshing - borderline on nauseous. Another groan of discomfort, then his eyes opened.
There were a few sensations he felt at that moment, not least of which was an extreme sense of dislocation and vertigo. As he leaned up from the....bed?....he was in, he leaned over and began to expel the contents of his stomach. The process took a minute as his mind and body adjusted to the fact that, yes, he was alive again. He moved himself to the edge following another dry heave, gaining some constitution back as he managed to hold back any further attempts. He felt extremely weak as his legs slid over the edge, touching the floor.
Maybe the Pennsylvania crew had teleported him over in the nick of time, healed him, and now he was in his quarters? It didn't feel like his bed though, something about it was off, and the way the sounds had played off the interior of where he was signaled that he wasn't where he was supposed to be. His brain knew that he had died, knew that he wasn't supposed to be here, that something was off. He didn't know how, but it was what his gut told him, and he trusted his gut.
He chanced it. "Computer, lights."
His Russian accent played heavier than normal over his English, his throat emitting his voice in a surprisingly grovely way as it almost felt like he was fighting it to speak. The lights came on, gently, revealing a scene that was extremely foreign to him. He was sitting on the edge of a bed, two walls beside him, and farther down was what looked like a vacant nightstand or something similar with a door he assumed to be the head. The interior of this spartan and bland accommodation looked like it came directly from the 22nd century. His eyes adjusted, still having a blurry haze to it.
"Computer," he began, catching himself as he cleared his throat. His voice was still quite harsh. "Computer, where am I?"
"You are on Deck Five, Junior Officer's Quarters number Seven."
Oscar squinted. "What ship am I on?" he tried to clarify, his suspicion all but confirmed as his gut began to flare with warning sirens, his brain all but beginning to panic. He tried his best to quell them. This had to be something....
"You are on the USS Poseidon, Starfleet Registration NCC-42635, Miranda-class Convoy-Escort Destroyer."
His gut was practically on fire, he felt like throwing up again. This had to be a dream. He had died and now his brain was making stuff up. The only problem was that he had never seen the interior of a 22nd century ship before, so his mind either had to be using some other source for inspiration in his death, or this was real. Two questions came to mind, he spoke slowly, his voice having tremors now.
"What quadrant are we in and what year," he asked, his voice almost breaking under the duress he was experiencing. He felt so weak, so sick. He was glad he was sitting.
"The location of the USS Poseidon is currently within the Alpha Quadrant, the year is presently 2393."
His tremors subsided somewhat. He hadn't time traveled at least, but....how? How had he somehow ended up halfway across the galaxy? Wasn't he dead? Almost to himself, he asked, "am I alive?"
The computer, thinking the inquiry was to it, responded appropriately.
"Ship's sensors indicate that your body is functioning normally. You are, however, not registered on the manifest of this ship. Security has been alerted to your presence. Please maintain your current position until they arrive."
Oscar blinked, security? The girl? The slaves? The Hirogen...it was all coming back to him. He understood the computer, and somehow it provided him with a level of comfort knowing that in some twisted sense, the Computer also knew he was out of place. He didn't reply to it, merely obliged it as he stayed put. He didn't have the nerve or energy to try to resist anyway, his body all but spent. He remembered vividly the shot to his head, his other teammates as they died. The man and girl who had been beaten almost to death inside the enclosed prisoner field. He had died trying to rescue them. But why was he here?
He simply looked up, noticing the door to the outside, and waited. Whatever the event, whatever happened, he hoped whomever was coming would be able to answer. Almost as an afterthought, he reached to his belt....empty. His phaser was gone. Made sense, but it also benefited him in this situation. One less thing for the arriving security personnel to be concerned about.
The lights went from dim to ludicrously bright level practically blinding him and the door opened revealing four large armed silhouettes rushing through the door followed by very large shapes pointing a phaser rifle at him. The lights went back down to normal as he stared down a large humanoid figure flanked by security officers.
"HANDS ON YOUR HEAD! HANDS ON YOU-..."
The voice stopped and the largest figure almost sounded...curious.
"You don't look so good. And why are you laying around in bed? Some pirate you are."
=/\= "Karn to Sick Bay, medical emergency on Deck 5... Our intruder looks.. how you say... like a zombie?" =/\=
Oscar barely had the strength to reply, though he did raise his hands. He was used to the procedures, groaning a bit in slight distress as his head spun from the sudden raise of his arms. He gulped back some bile that had managed to form in the interlude between his last stomach expulsion. His eyes managed to focus and was surprised to see a Lurian standing there, part of his mind wondering if he had actually switched realities. Then, all at once, everything went black. His body fell to the ground as it slumped forward and crumbled to the floor. He had passed out.
The world appeared again and the world was grey.
"You know what I find annoying about Starfleet Brigs? This buzzing noise from the little force field things. Why not metal bars? Everything you federation type people do.. so..so shiny!"
The Lurian turned his head towards him as if he finally noticed him coming around mid monologue.
"Oh, you are waking up now are you? Good, for I have many many questions."
Oscar groaned, holding his head. He felt a bit refreshed, insofar as his general hygiene went, and supposed that at some point during his prior lapse of consciousness that he had been through sickbay. This was supported by the fact that the familiar buzzing sound of the brig could be heard. He was inside a containment cell. He sat up and sighed softly, it would have been what he would have done. He couldn't blame this crew. His eyes drifted to the Lurian.
"How did you get on the ship? And why does everyone think you are dead?"
The brig on the Miranda-Class ships looked as grey and dull as it did on any Federation vessel.
"Because I was," Oscar replied, his voice sounding considerably better. "The last thing I remember...I uh....I was Chief of Security for the USS Pennsylvania, a Nebula-class. We had just arrived in the Delta Quadrant via the catapult, then came across a Hirogen ship that was damaged. It was sending a distress signal. I was assigned by Captain Kamar to investigate it with a team."
His mind caught, and he looked down. His team. A sense of loss filled him. He had known some of them, been acquainted. He cleared his throat and continued.
"I believe we found a slave ship, because the containment cell held a girl and a man, whom I assume was her father. They were badly beaten, I reported it, but the Hirogen ambushed us. Three of them. My team took down one, the Hirogen took down all of my team. I was the last. I remember speaking to the bridge, telling them to come save the girl, then....then blackness. That was it until here."
Karn just stared at him for a moment and looked at his PADD before looking back at him.
"Ah, you seem to have the details of the last day of this young man's life in order... something that anyone with the right security clearance could see. But tell me, what did you have for breakfast that day?", asked Karn
Oscar had a to think a moment, taken aback by the detailed request. "Well, I uh..." he started, his words drifting a bit as his head lowered in thought. "I had...bliny with a side of fried eggs and toast. I think I drank some orange juice that morning."
Karn grunted in frustration.
"Doc says your DNA is an exact match from Oscar. Your medical files from the Pennsylvania match your current exam right up to the scratch on your right knee. Expect of course, your torso being shot up 80% and you being declared dead. In some cultures, coming back from the dead makes you a god. Are you a god Lieutenant or just a clever fake sent here to cause trouble?"
Oscar looked up, a bit of concern and confusion in his eyes. He drew in a breath, rubbing his hand through his hair as he exhaled in a sigh. He shook his head.
"Honestly, Lieutenant?" he said, gazing up at the Lurian. "I don't know. I remember dying. I was dead. Then...I remember....I remember...."
His eyes widened, words drifting briefly before he spoke again.
"I remember something pulling me, like it grabbed me from a great river," he said, eyes unfocused, words almost a whisper. "It felt...like a big hand had grabbed my body and flung me a great distance. I felt the g-forces, I felt the intensity, then I felt my fall onto the bed. I heard...."
His eyes squinted, trying to remember. Closing now as he rubbed his temple.
"I heard two audible pops, like....as if a fire crackled, then what sounded like some type of water vortex sucking inward before collapsing and ceasing to exist. It was surreal. Then the nausea set in."
Oscar looked up, staring Karn in the eye. "On my oath as a Security Officer in Starfleet, Lieutetant, I swear this is all I know. I don't think I'm a god, but I do think something dragged me from death to here. Was there....was there any disturbances you registered? Temporal? Anything? Maybe that could give a clue."
Karn stared intently, "Then as a Security Officer you must realize that until we figure this out you're going to be spending a lot of time in here resurrected type person. I don't know what to do with you otherwise."
Oscar was about to respond, when from behind Karn flanked by two Security Officer's came Commander Johnson. He extended and patted Karn on the shoulder. "Evening, Lieutenant," greeted the Commander jovially. "So I take it the ships sensors were calibrated correctly. Is this our intruder?"
The Commander looked to Oscar, who kept quiet as he looked back at the two.
"Yes Mon Capitan, This is our dead man. I don't like dead men walking around on our ship. It's ... not right and must be a clever trick."
The Commander looked at the Lurian seriously in that moment, hands going behind his back as he turned to face Oscar. His eyes boring into the dead man, as Karn had stated. There was a brief silence, the two Security Officer's who had flanked the Commander taking station at the entrance to the brig, leaving Franklin and Karn standing in front of the force field with Oscar sitting isolated within.
"Are you dead?" Franklin asked, breaking the lingering silence.
Oscar gazed up, a lingering sense of doubt visible in his expression. "I'm not sure," he said, honestly. "For all I know this could be some fabrication by my mind in death. I'm just not sure, sir."
Franklin seemed to nod, slowly, as he looked Oscar up and down. He brought a hand to his chin, rubbing it, considering. The Commander eyed the Lurian beside him.
"Opinions, Mr. Karn? Can't have a dead man walking, doesn't make sense." Franklin then shrugged, "Can't kill him either, he seems alive to me. What was his profession before his supposed death?"
Karn sighed knowing where this was going.
"Starfleet records state that Lieutenant Vladinchi served with distinction as the chief of security aboard the Pennsylvania... before being killed in the line of duty." he added.
Franklin was quiet, thinking. He took in a deep breath, lowering his arms as he straightened his outfit, facing Karn.
"Have him evaluated," Franklin said. "Take him to Lieutenant Commander Shakura. If he checks out and you need an extra hand, have him on your staff. If things don't work out, we'll transfer him at 47. I also want a full investigation on the sensor logs just prior to his arrival. It sounds to me like something funky happened and I want to know everything about it. Any objections? Speak freely, Mr. Karn."
Karn made a sound that sounded like a cross between a low growl and a chirp before throwing up his hands.
"My mother was right! All you Starfleet type people poking around the edges of the universe and what happens when the void pokes back. You get all excited and you poke more! Fine, Mr. Vladinchi seems like a decent type person for a dead guy and I could use somebody with his experience - even if I think it's a trick. Mark me though; if he starts turning green and shouting about brains I am shooting him and I'll make sure he stays dead! Lieutenant! Let's get you to Shakura!"
Franklin took another glance at Oscar, then looked back at Karn. "Give him some rest, keep him under observation. Here should be fine. If he does turn green, we'll at least be ready."
Oscar was about to object but didn't, he simply looked down. On one hand he wasn't too pleased about his confinement, but on the other....no, he would have done the same. Looking up to meet eyes with Franklin, he watched as the Commander gave him another appraising look. It was full of caution and judgement, almost as if Franklin had already decided on something. The Commander gave Karn a final nod, turned, then left.